Democratic Congressional Leaders Offer Support for Harvey Aid, Debt Limit Rise

DACA Re Amnesty Vote Jammed By Congress Calendar			FREDERIC J. BROWN  AFP  Getty Images		by Neil Munro3 Sep 20170		3 Sep 2017		3 Sep 2017

US President Donald Trump meets with congressional leadership in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on September 6, 2017.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Pelosi, released a statement about the agreement that was made during a meeting with GOP leaders and the president at the White House Wednesday.

President Donald Trump sided with Democrats on adding a three-month extension of the USA debt limit and government spending to a hurricane-relief bill over the arguments of fellow Republicans, who pressed for a longer debt extension.

Conservatives were already balking over a plan to attach a debt ceiling increase to the Harvey recovery bill that cleared the House on Wednesday.

Trump met with House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Knowing the urgency needed and the difficulty of voting against disaster relief, Republican leadership plans to attach an increase to the debt ceiling when the bill arrives in the Senate, putting conservatives who oppose lifting the borrowing limit without budgetary reforms and guarantees of reduced government spending in a hard place: Vote against disaster relief or turn their back on principled opposition to increased government spending.

Some of the must-pass legislation lawmakers face include a debt ceiling increase and a government funding bill by the end of the month.

Republicans will need at least eight Democrats in the Senate to vote for Harvey aid. "We agreed to a three-month extension on debt ceiling, which they consider to be sacred, very important".

"President Trump is the first president in 30 years - let's just go back to Reagan; we can go back further".

But White House legislative affairs chief Marc Short told reporters on Air Force One that "clearing the decks" will allow lawmakers to focus on a GOP priority: overhauling the tax code.

Republican leaders, according to the source, pushed for an 18-month debt limit hike, then floated six months.

"I think that's ridiculous and disgraceful that they want to play politics with the debt ceiling at this moment when we have fellow citizens in need to respond to these hurricanes so that we do not strand them", Ryan told reporters.

Pelosi and Schumer offered their votes for a package that would provide aid to Hurricane Harvey victims and raise the debt ceiling only through December 15, while Republican leaders supported a debt ceiling increase through the 2018 mid-term elections, aides said.

The House on Wednesday approved roughly $8 billion in initial emergency aid for relief and rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey, which tore into Texas on August 25.

Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse was one of them, saying in a tweet that "The Pelosi-Schumer-Trump deal is bad". The measure, passed 419-3, is created to provide relief to tens of thousands of homeowners from flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and other parts of the Gulf Coast.

The U.S. would have defaulted on its debt had the ceiling not been raised, an unprecedented event that would've tarnished the nation's credit rating.

The House passed $7.4 billion for a federal disaster-relief fund Wednesday, two days before it's set to run out.

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